Jewish pilgrims came from as far as the Arabian Peninsula to sacrifice animals at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, new research suggests.
The research was published in the September issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science and quoted on the NBC news website.
The conclusion was based on an analysis of bones found in an ancient dump in the city dating back 2,000 years. The massive dump was located on the outskirts of the old walled city of Jerusalem.
Dating methods revealed that it had been used between the start of King Herod's reign in 37 BCE and the Great Revolt in CE 66.
Study co-author Gideon Hartman, a researcher at the University of Connecticut, analyzed nitrogen and carbon isotopes from about 160 sheep and goat bones found in the city dump. The study found that many of the animals came from rural desert regions hundreds of miles away, such as Arabia or the site of modern Jordan.
"There were strong and wealthy Jewish populations during the time of the second temple that are established far away from the land of Israel," Hartman said.